Health Fair 2016 Takes on a Carnival Atmosphere
April 2016 – Bubbles, balloons and giggles were common sights and sounds at this year’s Health Fair, thanks in part to REACH and the WMC Nursing department. As the Health Fair moved into its second year using the new system of having blood draws take place at the hospital for the month prior to the Health Fair and then the results returned at the event, a pattern seems to be emerging: the Health Fair has come to feel more like a carnival.
“Folks are definitely happier,” remarked one vendor, “they’re smiling and chatting and sticking around for a lot longer than I remember.”
It helped that the WMC Nursing staff brought in a huge bunch of balloons to give to the children after seeing how well they were received at the “Social Services” table. “We might need to do this every year,” said Sherri Austin, Chief Nursing Officer at WMC.
In addition to bubbles and balloons, the younger crowd was also treated to homemade play dough from Krissy Smith’s “Early Childhood Coalition” table – which also had a lovely selection of children’s books that kiddos could take home. AICS’ Dental Clinic provided free toothbrushes and toothpaste for the Health Fair goody bags and (based on returned surveys) children and adults alike learned that flossing cleans 40% more of the tooth’s surface than brushing alone.
Attendees were also able to make appointments for a free “low vision” clinic which was offered by the Alaska Center for the Blind on the Monday and Tuesday following the Health Fair. Other of the 43 booths included representatives from both Airlift Northwest and Guardian Flight’s “Apollo MT” service as well as a wide variety of booths which ranged from those providing for a person’s spiritual health to skincare to elder care to assistance for veterans.
“I’m impressed with the variety of agencies and groups represented here,” remarked Robert Rang, WMC’s CEO, who was attending his first Health Fair in Wrangell. “It’s really great that we have so many folks in the community that are aware of and focused on health needs of all types.”
In addition to the informational booths, the other purpose of the Health Fair is for residents to collect their results from the blood draws. This year 452 folks participated in one or more of the 5 tests at the special Health Fair rate of just $25 per test: 445 folks requested the Health Profile, the most popular of the tests, 333 had the HA1C, 331 for the TSH, 325 for the Vitamin D, and 170 gentlemen opted to have the PSA test.
Organizers were excited about this year’s turnout, “we had well over 450 people attend the Health Fair this year,” notes committee member, Kris Reed, “and many of them stayed for quite a while.” The committee also was very thankful for WMC staff and community volunteers who work behind the scenes to make this event the success it is. “Without the lab staff, the front desk crew, the maintenance gang, purchasing and support services, the Health Fair would be just a bare shadow of what we have today,” said Reed, “Then, when you add in the rest of the staff who create and man the booths, the community members and guests who travel to participate, it really becomes a state-wide effort to bring this event to the community. “
Health Fair 2017
NO FOOLING! Health Fair 2017 will be here before you know it! We're planning on Saturday, April 1, at the Nolan Center. Check with Kris Reed (907-874-7196) if you wish to be a vendor or click the above link if you are a returning vendor.